Sunday, June 2, 2013

Recover well or discover pain and injuries.

Recovery is one of the most important aspects of any form of physical activity, sport, fitness training or martial art. Just few days back I received a suggestion from my Sensei (teacher) of the Japanese language to write on this subject. So here we are discussing recovery. I hope I do a good job of it. The article is just a generalized guideline of the importance, how to go about it and how to improve recovery time. 

For a detailed or personalized recovery program suited for your body type, fitness level and workout you could contact me.

What is Recovery????

The time taken by the body ( muscles, ligaments, joints ) to recoup from a workout is called recovery. It is in this time that the body builds back broken down muscle and tissues as well as relaxes and comes back to how it was prior to the workout (strain free). 

In my opinion recovery is actually more important than the workout itself. Suppose you train today and the body has not recovered completely and you workout again you are training with the body already being in the negative, without it being in optimum condition. This is something most people overlook which leads to build up of stress in the muscles and joints finally rising as stress injuries. Quality rest time is essential for a quality workout. A good recovery plan will ensure better workout levels, no build up of stress injuries, no fatigue feeling all day and most important longevity in your ability to train. 

There are no fixed rules as to how much time one would need to recover from a workout. It varies from person to person depending on their fitness levels, the kind of workout, the intensity of the workout, their general lifestyle and so on. However if you wake up the next day after a good nights sleep and still feel the strain in the area of the workout you did yesterday then you need more time to recover. That is why generally different muscle groups are exercised on different days giving sufficient time for recovery. This simple rule gets difficult to follow when you are connected with sports or martial arts as in these activities all the muscles of the body are worked on in every workout. You could try to reduce the impact on a certain muscle group while exercising that helps reduce the full load on that muscle group. When we have an intensive workout on a specific day we could follow up with an active recovery the next day. Active recovery is where you do not rest completely but try to use your normal daily routines to give you a low intensity workout for eg - walk to a super market which is a km or more away at a relaxed pace and walk back after shopping. 

In my opinion and personal experience the better levels of endurance you have the faster will be your recovery. So you will need lesser time to recover with increasing levels of endurance. Endurance is the muscles ability to function for longer time spans even after it has been exhausted. To build endurance we need to improve the core. Everyone nowadays talks of the core but most people work on it the wrong way. To strengthen the core muscles you need to train without sipping on water through the workout. Yes it sounds strange since everyone does allow sipping on water. Well when you do sip on water during the workout you hydrate and can workout better may be even longer. Now if you do not sip on water through out the workout and keep pushing yourself you are training when the body and muscles are in a  dehydrated state. However you need an experienced trainer to guide and supervise your workout, so that he / she can gradually build up on your endurance rather than give rude and sudden shocks to the body which can cause severe injuries. This over a period of time enhances your core strength and endurance levels. As your muscles adapt to function when there is nothing left too. This is the reason why a person with higher endurance levels would need shorter time spans for recovery. 

I have tried to keep this article as simple and basic as possible. It is not possible to talk of detailed recovery plans since they will vary from person to person. Hope this has given you a generalized idea of recovery and its importance. Do feel free to send in your comments or suggestions for any article you would like me to write on. 

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